Bryce Harper comments resurface amidst Nick Castellanos controversy
Phillies fans aren’t happy with Nick Castellanos’ response to being asked about getting booed
Ben Simmons’ house might actually be cursed.
Nick Castellanos, who bought the house upon signing his historic deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, is totally lost at the plate. He hasn’t homered since the end of July and came into Sunday’s series finale hitting .232/.243/.275 with 21 strikeouts in 17 games this month.
As he went 0-for-4 in the loss to Cubs on Saturday night, Phillies fans booed the struggling slugger. Postgame, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia asked Castellanos, “Did you hear the boos?” He gave a snappy retort, telling the veteran reporter, “Nah man, I lost my hearing.” When Salisbury continued to push, Castellanos told him, “That’s a stupid question.”
While Salisbury’s question was baiting at best, Castellanos isn’t doing himself any favors by snapping at reporters, especially when he’s not backing up his talk with his play. In addition to struggling at the plate, he’s been one of the game’s worst defenders. His -12 Defensive Runs Saved is the second-worst mark in all of baseball. His .656 OPS coming into Sunday ranked 132nd out of 153 qualifying hitters.
It’s one thing to struggle, it’s another entirely to come off as brusque and snappy about it, especially in a city like Philadelphia, where fans are so involved with their teams. People immediately recalled Bryce Harper’s vastly different reaction when asked a similar question in April 2019. Going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on the last day of his first month in a Phillies uniform, he was also asked about getting booed, but responded,
"“I would do the same thing. It’s not fun to lose. It’s not fun to watch. I’m probably thinking the same thing walking back to the dugout”"
A temperate and fair response. And Harper’s first month as a Phillie hadn’t even been that bad. While not up to his usual standards, he still hit .240/.388/.490 with a .878 OPS, doubled eight times, and hit six home runs in his first 29 games with the club. By comparison, Castellanos is hitting .210/.223/.261 with a .484 OPS, three doubles, and one home run over his last 29 games coming into Sunday, none since June.
Lack of leadership is one of several issues people have pointed to when discussing why the Phillies might not have what it takes to get to the postseason. Phillies’ all-time saves leader Jonathan Papelbon called them out last week, and now fans are saying Castellanos isn’t behaving like a leader in Bryce Harper’s absence from the lineup.
The least he can do is not take the bait while he figures out his swing.